Enhance Your Living

Alexander McClew Landscape Design

Transforming kiwi backyards and turning the outdoor spaces of architecturally designed homes into landscaped masterpieces is all in a days work for Alexander McClew.

The Auckland-based landscape architect has worked on many interesting projects over the past few years – including an 18th century miners cottage in Queenstown, but helping create people’s outdoor personal space is still top of the list. Covid-19 was responsible for making his business flourish – with New Zealanders no longer able to spend their disposal income on overseas travel, they have started to concentrate more on home-based projects instead.


In 2020 he designed a record number 170 projects just in one year. “Being a designer is so rewarding especially when my clients experience their new garden that is beyond what they could have ever imagined,” he said. Not every day things are straight forward, but problem solving is all part of the business.

“Every property has potential but there are always problems to solve. I spend a lot of time mulling over solutions to difficult spaces and site issues.” Alex likes to be able to help anybody with their project, no matter what their budget, and he prides himself on helping save his clients money in many situations.



“Every client needs help no matter how small or large a site is, it still needs good design. I often save my clients a lot of money by advising them what not to do. “Simplicity is the key and so too often do clients spend money on unnecessary items or plants that ‘clutter’ up their gardens.” With less being more in many situations, by employing a qualified professional to do the design work takes a lot of pressure off clients in the long run.

As well as everyday kiwi backyards, Alex also works with high-end executive clients to ensure some of their best assets, including outdoor swimming pools, are aesthetically pleasing to the natural surrounds.



“Designing the landscaping for unique architecturally designed homes in a countryside setting is where I flourish. Connecting the house to the landscape so they seamlessly blend together is very rewarding.”

He has also designed a few primary school entrances, and sees this as a great opportunity to enhance the community facilities, “creating inviting functional areas for the kids and parents after school.



”New Zealanders love to spend time entertaining outdoors but Alex said they are not all keen gardeners, so many people want shrubs and trees in their garden that are low maintenance and look good all the time. But they are happy to invest in good design, “they understand the importance of shape and form in they garden’s layout, simplicity and harmony throughout the material choice and contrast through the planting design.

Following lockdown Alex said more property owners have been starting to rethink what to do with their backyards and looking for help to do that.”



“We are receiving a lot of enquiry about improving the usability of spaces for outdoor living including spa pools, bbq areas and playgrounds. Practical features are also back like vegetable gardens and water tanks.” With borders closed his clients have had to create their own paradise at home in their backyard. Alex finds much of his inspiration when out tramping and mountainbiking, helping him reconnect to the natural environment.

“Exploring our quirky small towns and streets is also something I enjoy. Having a nosy at any gardens that catch my eye along the way is a source of inspiration.”



Back at the office, you wouldn’t find a more green space than around his workstation, where all of his design takes place. Alex lives and breathes plants and it helps to not only break up the surrounding computer space, but remind him of the real thing when he’s not able to get outside.

When you’re this green it makes sense to be immersed in it.